If my job can be done from home, can I expect my employer to give me the option to work from home?

I was worried for my safety during COVID, but I wonder now if the rules are different as the pandemic wanes.



Coquitlam, BC

During the pandemic, many businesses were accommodating requests to work from home.

As a worker, you have the right to not work in a place that presents an "undue hazard." Think about your workplace: Do a lot of people work under the same roof? Do you have to work in tight spaces? And critically: can the work be done remotely as effectively as it can be done in person?

At the height of COVID, if the answers to these questions were “yes,” then asking to work from home would have been a reasonable request that an employer should have been open to accommodating.

But now, as COVID has declined, it's a different story. The element of "undue hazard" is no longer as persistent. Unless your employment contract specified that you can work from home, or it remains part of your company policy, don't expect to have a right to be able to work from home. Employers are typically within their legal rights to request their employees return to the office.

Regardless, how you package your request is key. Make sure to come to the conversation prepared. Tell your employer how you can do your job well — if not better — from home. Our info on requesting flexible work is on point here. And we have tips for talking with an employer to help you through these tough conversations. 

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2023

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